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Beyond the Mountains of Westworld: Part 2 The Creation of Artificial Life

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Frequently life is simply defined as the conditions that separates organisms from inorganic objects and the dead (Elements of Biological Science, 3rd Edition, William T. Keeton and Carol Hardy McFadden, 1983). Life is also more frequently described by listing characteristics typical of life such as metabolism, responsiveness, movement, growth and reproduction.

All life on Earth is shaped and molded through the forces of evolution; specifically, natural selection is the biological engine that continuously tests a species’ adaptation to its ever-changing environment. Thus, life being influenced by natural selection can be thought of as natural life.  In contrast, artificial selection is the breeding of preferred traits (e.g. producing more milk or seeds; faster animals or more attractive flowers) and the development of such species could be thought of, in a sense, as artificial life. For example, the English bulldog would not exist if humans did not breed dogs for the traits that this particular breed exhibits – thus, in a sense the English bulldog can be thought of as a type of “artificial life.”

bulldog           Zoey, the English bulldog, can be considered a form of artificial life

Another definition for artificial life is life directly created by another species as opposed to being the result of millions of years of natural selection in operation. In the case of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, it is revealed that the Elder Things created all life on Earth so does that make all life we know a form of artificial life? In this case I would say no for several reasons.

The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old and most evidence suggests life began about 3.8 billion years ago; however, some recent work on carbon minerals provide some tantalizing evidence to suggest that life may have been on Earth as early as 4.1 billion years ago (www.sciencemag.org; October 2015). However, it should be noted that the data to support this is small and additional studies / analyzes are required to further support this hypothesis.

Based on the fossil evidence and bas-reliefs found in Antarctica, the Elder Things arrived on Earth during the Archean Eon, approximately 4.0 to 2.5 billion years ago (Joshi, 2001). If the Elder Things arrived on Earth before any life existed on Earth, then they could be the creators of all life on Earth. However, if they arrived after prokaryotic (bacteria) appeared on Earth (say they arrived 2.5 billion years ago and life was already on the planet by 3.8 billion years ago), then the Elder Things may have created eukaryotic life out of prokaryotic life. Indeed, evidence suggests that eukaryotic life appeared on Earth approximately 1.5 billion years ago. Thus, in this scenario, the Elder Things used the raw prokaryotic (bacterial cells) life to create more complex, eukaryotic life such as fungi, plants and animals.

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While the Elder Things “created” eukaryotic life, once released into the wild these organisms grew, had offspring and under the existing genetic variability that was coded in them, natural selection arose. The Elder Things largely left the majority of life on Earth alone to evolve and diversify through the eons. Thus, while the initial “eukaryotic germ cells” were artificially produced, once released into the environment, they became “naturalized” and adhered to the conditions used to define life: metabolism, responsiveness, movement, growth and reproduction.

In the case of Shoggoths, these organisms are better defined as artificial life since they cannot reproduce on their own. While Lovecraft does mention that the Shoggoths can reproduce through binary fission, this apparently is completely controlled, more than likely on a genetic level, by the Elder Things. Reproduction can only occur with the direct supervision and assistance of the Elder Things in special areas or structures called “shoggoth pits.” Thus, shoggoths cannot reproduce on their own, something that is required in the definition of life. I believe the Elder Things intentionally designed the shoggoths like this so they could control the population, the way only sterile grass carp are used to control heavy aquatic plant growth in lakes. By controlling or eliminating the potential for reproduction, this prevents the grass carp from taking over a lake, the way it would prevent the shoggoths from taking over the Earth.

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Additionally, shoggoths do not appear to age or increase in size. They are fluid organisms, similar to the octopus, in that they can change their shape, size and structure but not their mass. Shoggoths in their natural state appear to be spherical with a diameter of fifteen feet, although smaller sub-species have been noted (possibly in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”). Thus, shoggoths do not appear to grow; again, another important characteristic used to define natural life. Thus, I would define shoggoths as artificial life; the cannot grow and do not reproduce and so are not influenced as a species by evolution through natural selection like the rest of Terran life.

In the HBO series Westworld, bioengineering is not used to create the “hosts,” a term used to describe the androids in the park. Instead, high-tech robotic engineering used to create the “core” of the hosts, which are then covered in biological tissues to make them look like real people. In one episode, it is casually mentioned that the hosts use to be entirely composed of inorganic / mechanical parts but it’s actually cheaper to cover their robotic skeleton and organs with biological material. No detailed were given on how this biological material covering the hosts is created, however, I hypothesize that its grown through the proliferation of stem cells in large vats akin to the Elder Things shoggoth pits.

westworld-hbo The creator examining his creation in HBO’s Westworld

The fact that humans developed and manufactured the hosts makes them obviously artificial life. While the hosts have an inorganic core with a biological shell they still have much in common with the shoggoths. In reviewing the basic characteristics of life both the hosts and the shoggoths exhibit responsiveness and movement. In terms of metabolism, both the hosts and the shoggoths need to take in energy of some sort to continue to function. In the case of shoggoths, based on Lovecraft, these organisms had very flexible modes of nutrition. They could directly be modified by the Elder Things for various modes of life (living deep in the sea or on the land) or nutrition (e.g. photosynthetic or heterotrophic) through direct artificial selection, similar to breeding a dog for a specific trait. While the hosts on HBO’s Westworld could eat and drink, nothing is known about how they derive their energy. Do they actually extract energy from the organic material they ingest or do they have alternative sources of energy built within them?

lovecraft___shoggoth__terrastial_ii_by_kingovrats-d5uohe5 A terrestrial shoggoth by KingOvRats (www.deviantart.com)

Again, the key traits that both the shoggoths and the hosts have to define them as artificial life is that they do not physically grow and they cannot reproduce. However, in spite of these control measures imposed by their creators, both groups eventually developed consciousness and that will be the focus of the next article.  Thank you and Happy New Year! Fred.

02-shoggoth                                                                                  Shoggoth by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Beyond the Mountains of Westworld: Part 1 Comparing H.P. Lovecraft to Michael Crichton

westworld_1973_               Original movie poster for Westworld (1973) written and directed by Michael Crichton

I remember going to the Drive-In theater as a kid in the 1970’s to see the original version of Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1973) with Yul Brynner.  It did leave an impression on me – an adult themed park of the Wild West (there was also a Medieval World and a Roman World) with robots or better described as androids. The parallels between Westworld and Crichton’s Jurassic Park books are obvious – using science and technology for recreational purposes where the resulting theme park ends up harming or killing the visitors.  In the past I have compared the Jurassic Park books and movies to H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness, where genetic engineering results in new forms of life that cannot be contained or fully controlled by their creators. However, HBO’s new series Westworld (2016) can also be compared to Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness but here the underlining theme is not simply the creation of life but the creation of sentient life with consciousness.

This is the first article in a three-part analysis, comparing H.P. Lovecraft’s novella “At the Mountains of Madness” to HBO’s Westworld. The second article will discuss the creation of life, while the third article will discuss the evolution and development of consciousness. This article will briefly compare the attitudes and opinions Michael Crichton’s to that of Lovecraft’s with regard to science. Please note that while these articles will discuss the general themes and ideas of Westworld, no specific plot spoilers will be given. However, it is strongly recommended that you watch the first season of Westworld to fully appreciate these discussions. In contrast, more detailed plot points will be discussed for “At the Mountains of Madness.”

at_the_mountains_of_madness_2_by_moonxels-d5jux47 “At the Mountains of Madness” by Moonxels (www.deivantart.com)

The tales of both Crichton and Lovecraft commonly express concerns over humanity’s science and technology exceeding the boundaries of the natural world. One of the most common themes in Crichton’s novels is the damage uncontrolled science can do to humanity. Whether its dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, androids in Westworld, space exploration in Andromeda Strain or nanotechnology in Prey, Crichton’s tales tend to be cautionary warnings on how science can be a force onto itself that may negatively impact the human species.

Crichton regularly expressed a genuine level of skepticism on the use of science and noted the limits of science in his autobiography Travels (originally published in 1988). In his autobiography, Crichton frequently expressed an interest in metaphysical concepts and ideas associated with psychic phenomenon and he thought that science and mysticism were different paths that led to the same universal truths. While Crichton had medical training, he claimed to have experienced a number of supernatural phenomenon in his global travels involving psychic channeling and exorcism. This gave Crichton a metaphysical perspective where the power of the mind was just as important as the power the body in healing one’s self.

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While Lovecraft frequently incorporated supernatural elements in his tales, particularly his earlier ones, his mechanical, materialist perspective on the universe and reality helped to develop his unique cosmic tales of horror, in particular his “Cthulhu Mythos” tales. However, beyond a plot device Lovecraft thought very little of the supernatural. One just needs to read some of Lovecraft’s articles in Collected Essays: Volume 3: Science, H.P. Lovecraft (Joshi, 2005) such as “Science versus Charlatanry,” The Falsity of Astrology,” and “The Fall of Astrology” to understand how what little regard he had for the supernatural. In fact, at one point Lovecraft and C.M. Eddy were going to work on a collaborative revision of an article drafted by Harry Houdini and expand it into a book called The Cancer of Superstition (Joshi, 2013). Thus, Lovecraft would have been disappointed and slightly amused with Crichton, a person trained in the medical field believing in such superstitions.

One of Lovecraft’s most famous quotation is from the beginning of “The Call of Cthulhu” where it is stated:

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlated all is contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

cthulhu_by_nathanrosario Cthulhu by Nathan Rosario (www.deviantart.com)

A large part of Lovecraft’s perception of reality is based on the writings of Hugh Samuel Roger Elliot (Modern Science and Materialism originally published in 1919), who argued that the universe is analogous to a large, vast machine, operating under some well-established laws of physics and chemistry (Elliot, 1919). Thus, there was no room in Lovecraft’s universe for the supernatural.  Just because we could not understand something in the universe did not make it supernatural; it was simply operating with processes and mechanisms we do not yet understand. In fact, Elliot frequently mentioned that we may never know the true nature of the universe since our senses are only limited to five. If we can increase our perception of reality, we may have a better understanding of the universe. Such themes obviously make their way into a number of Lovecraft’s tales such as “Beyond the Walls of Sleep” and “From Beyond.”

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However, in spite of Lovecraft’s appreciation for science, he still expressed caution in his tales in its application.  Lovecraft’s attitude was firmly rooted in the belief that similar to the 18th and 19th centuries, science was a profession that only the well-to-do should pursue from an academic or theoretical perceptive. It was the application of science and its offspring – the development of technology – that could lead man to a “new dark age.”

To conclude, within the context of their tales, both Lovecraft and Crichton had reservations on how science could lead to the downfall of humanity. However, while Crichton reserved room for the supernatural in his life, Lovecraft’s mechanistic materialism excluded the existence of anything outside of the natural order of physics and chemistry.

The next article we will compare season 1 of HBO’s Westworld, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, to Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” with a focus on the creation of artificial life. Thank you – Fred.

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The Haunter’s Three-Lobed Eye

While we are moving onto Robert Bloch’s “The Shadow in the Steeple” to conclude the Haunter Trilogy, I did want to spend a little time discussing the Haunter’s three-lobed eye. Just before Blake’s encounter with the Haunter at the end of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark,” he was furiously writing notes in his journal, which would end up being his last recorded entries. The very last statement in Blake’s journal was:

“I see it – coming here – hell-wind – titan blur – black wing – Yog Sothoth save me – the three-lobed burning eye…”

the_haunter_of_the_dark_by_marcsimonetti The Haunter of the Dark by Marc Simonetti

We know that the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (EM-spectrum) weakens or neutralizes the Haunter but does not necessarily destroy it. Yet Blake specifically mentions it’s three-lobed burning eye. Assuming this “eye” is used as some sort of organ for perception, it more than likely does not see it the visible portion of the EM-spectrum as we do.

Electromagnetic waves are produced by a vibrating electric charge and so consist of both an electric and a magnetic component. Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. This continuous range of frequencies is known as the EM-spectrum. The entire range of the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. The subdividing of the entire spectrum into smaller spectra is done mostly on the basis of how each region of electromagnetic waves interacts with matter. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. The longer wavelength, lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength, higher frequency regions are on the far right (www.physicsclassroom.com).

wavelength_figure_www-science-edu-larc-nasa-gov                                                              The EM-spectrum (www.science-edu.larc.nasa.gov)

As mentioned in the past article, the EM spectrum can be divided into non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, where non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to ionize (remove an electron) atoms or molecules. This type of radiation is only strong enough to excite the election to a higher state and not remove it. From higher to lower frequencies, non-ionizing radiation includes light, infrared, microwaves, radio wave and extremely low frequency waves.

The portion of the EM-spectrum that is visible to us, known as light, consists of a spectrum of wavelengths that range from approximately 700 nanometers (abbreviated nm) to approximately 400 nm. Wavelengths larger than 700 nm move into infrared radiation (IR), while wavelength shorter than 400 nm move into ultraviolet radiation (UV).

the_haunter_of_the_dark___nyarlathotep_by_herrtevik-d6wgtjw The Haunter of the Dark, Nyarlathotep by Herrtevik (S. Tent) (www.deivantart.com)

Any star, including our sun, is essentially a gigantic sphere of gas, or better defined as plasma (a gas but with an electrical charged – an ionized gas).  Our sun generates energy in its core via a type of nuclear reaction known as nuclear fusion. Basically, the tremendous heat and pressure at the heart of the Sun causes the nuclei of several hydrogen atoms to fuse together to form helium atoms. When this happens, a relatively small portion (less than 1%) of the mass of the atoms is converted into energy.  The nuclear actions within the sun generate EM-radiation across most of the EM-spectrum, generating high energy photons (packets of light or EM-radiation called photons). By the time these photons reach the surface of the sun and travel into space they become lower in energy so the Sun does not produce and eminent the highest energy EM-radiation like gamma rays. However, the Sun does produce X-rays, UV, light, IR and radio waves.

emfromsun Relative amounts of EM radiation from our Sun (www.windows2universe.org)

Since the peak of our Sun’s energy output is in the portion of visible light within the EM-spectrum (www.windows2universe.org), the largest amount of EM-radiation that reaches the Earth is visible light. Thus, it is not surprising that life on Earth evolved to “see” light waves. However, not all life on Earth can see the same portion of the EM-spectrum. For example, bees can’t see red wavelengths but can “see” UV light, which is another form of EM-wavelengths that the Sun generates in fairly high levels of irradiance.

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The “hotter” a star is, the more bluish-white it be while the “cooler” a star is, the more it will appear red. For example, something like a brown dwarf, which is a dim, cool object too massive to be a planet but not massive enough to be a star, emits more IR than visible light. In contrast, a white dwarf is a hot, dying star that has burned up all of the hydrogen in its core and emits mostly UV-radiation.  Thus, a more exotic or “alien” star, or possibly a star in another Universe where the Universal Laws and slightly different, may generate varying portions of EM-radiation relative to our Sun. Another example are pulsars, which are a type of neutron star – a star near the end of its life, which generate large amounts of gamma radiation.

Thus, getting back to the Haunter and its three-lobed eye, this organ may be adapted to “see” other portions of the EM-spectrum. One hypothesis is that if visible light functions as ionizing radiation to the Haunter then maybe it can “see” IR or even radio waves (does it come from a Universe where most of the stars are similar to brown dwarfs?). An alternative hypothesis is that each lobe functions to “see” a specific portion of the EM-spectrum or have slightly varying functions as do the cone and rod cells in our eyes (cone cells are used for color vision and work best in bright light, while rod cells are more effective in lower light levels).

three_lobed_burning_eye_by_pickmans_model The Three-Lobed Burning Eye by Elodie Roze

Still, since the Haunter is more than likely not a resident of our Universe, the three-lobed eye may not be used in the same manner as our eyes are. Lovecraft understood that they may be other means of perception beyond our known five senses, a concept based largely on his reading of Hugh Samuel Roger Elliot’s Modern Science and Materialism. Elliot claimed that our Universe would be perceived by us very differently if we had more than five senses; imagine what reality would look like if we could “see” the entire EM-spectrum. We frequently convert EM data of celestial bodies into color so we can see them. For example, Jupiter generates huge amounts of natural radio waves that are easily picked up on simple antennas and short-wave receivers (www.spacetoday.org). Shown below is what Jupiter “looks like” through radio waves. But does the Haunter’s three-lobed eye allow it to see other things beyond our EM-spectrum?  Can it “see” dark matter or dark energy? Can it “see” antimatter or the cosmic background radiation? Or is it see something else, something From Beyond?

jupiterradioimage13cm                                                                                             A radio image of Jupiter (www.spacetoday.org)

Next time we will definitely discuss Robert Bloch’s “The Shadow in the Steeple.” Thank you – Fred.

hofthed_rachelm5_dev The Haunter of the Dark by Rachelm5 (wwwdeviantart.com)

The Biology of the Haunter

hofthed_wilburwhateley                                                                                        The Haunter of the Dark by Wilbur Whateley (www.deviantart.com)

We know almost nothing about the biology of the Haunter of the Dark. Essentially, what we do know and be distilled down into three facts. First, the Haunter is not of our reality. Like the Mi-Go or Cthulhu, the Haunter is an entity from another universe that had slightly varying natural laws and properties. Thus, the matter the Haunter is composed of is very different than the matter of humans, Deep Ones or Elder Things. This first fact is extremely important and directly related to the third fact in this discussion.

The second fact, is based on the skeleton of Edwin M. Lillibridge found in the church by Robert Blake. The skeleton “must have been there for a very long time.” If the events in the “Haunter in the Dark” occurred in 1935 and Mr. Lillibridge died in 1893 (based on an advertising calendar found on his person), then 42 years elapsed since his death. This would have been a sufficient amount of time for his corpse to decompose down to bone. In the open air, it takes approximately two weeks for a substantial portion the body’s soft tissues to decompose. Even an unembalmed body buried six feet underground takes 8 to 12 years to fully decompose to a skeleton. Thus, 42 years is more than enough time for Mr. Lillibridge’s corpse to decompose down to bone.

hotd_spookylaboratory-blogspot-com                   The Haunter of the Dark (from http://www.spookylaboratory.blogspot.com)

While there is nothing unusual about the rate of decomposition of the corpse, the cause of death was difficult to identify. Upon close examination by Blake the bones were scattered and a few seemed dissolved at the ends. Additionally, other bones were strangely yellowed, with suggestions of being charred. This charring was also detected on some of the associated clothing. The skull was also stained yellow with a charred hole at the top of skull as if it was eaten away with some powerful acid.

While hydrofluoric acid is not a strong acid, its toxicity makes it particularly dangerous; relative to the human body, it scavenges calcium and forms a insoluble precipitate calcium fluoride, which results in severe pain and tissue damage. Thus, while Lovecraft mentions that the bone looked as if it was partially eaten away by a powerful acid, he also mentions several times that the bone and skull parts were charred. Thus, I hypothesize that the Haunter did not kill Lillibridge by spitting, spraying or emitting an acid. Instead, I hypothesize that since Lovecraft used the term char or charring three times in the description of the skeleton, I think the mode of attack and death on Lillibridge was bone charring.

Bone char is a process where bones are heated in a sealed container up to 1,292oF (700oC) under low oxygen concentrations. This results in burning off most of the organic material, leaving the bone char, which is also known as activated carbon. In turn, this material can be used in a number of capacities, including the treatment of potable water supplies. Bone char is particularly effective as a means of removing highly toxic metal ions from the water.

bonechar1446508011331                                  Activated carbon is the final product generated in the bone charring process (www.wikipedia.com)

Given the condition of the Lillibridge bones, I hypothesize that the bones actually exhibit some very localized and concentrated bone charring. Such charring had to have been done on a small scale, otherwise only bone char would have been found instead of the damaged skeleton. The Haunter may have some type of organ, maybe a trunk, proboscis or haustellum, to generate the conditions necessary for and subsequently implement the bone charring process in its victum. If this is the case, this attack must have been extremely painful. However, the possible use of hydrofluoric acid or similar compound should not be completely ruled out as will be discussed at the end of this article.

The third fact we know about the Haunter is that it is highly susceptible to light. Essentially, low light levels weaken it and higher levels of light banish it. It should be noted that while high levels of light make the Haunter disappear, it does not kill the entity. The Haunter can easily be re-summoned with the Shinning Trapezohedron, as described in previous articles. Again, the key to summoning and banishing the Haunter in our Space-Time and the degree of its power is directly correlated to the amount of light. So how is this possible?

As cited earlier in the first fact, similar to the Mi-Go, the Haunter is not made of the same matter we are; being from another Universe or at least beyond our Space-Time, the visible light portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum affects it very differently than other species in our Space-Time. For us the EM spectrum can be divided into non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, where non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to ionize (remove an electron) atoms or molecules. This type of radiation is only strong enough to excite the election to a higher state and not remove it. From higher to lower frequencies, non-ionizing radiation includes light, infrared, microwaves, radio wave and extremely low frequency waves.

em-spectrum The electromagnetic spectrum showing both non-ionizing and ionizing radiation (www.wikipedia.com)

In contrast, ionizing radiation has a higher frequency and shorter wavelengths and can strip elections off atoms or molecules. This higher energy radiation can be a health hazard to humans. The more energy the higher the health risk. From lower to higher frequencies, ionizing radiation includes ultraviolet, X-rays and Gamma rays.

Again, light waves are non-ionizing and so do not pose a health hazard to humans or life on Earth in general. However, entities from another Space-Time, where the natural laws are slightly different, may respond to our EM spectrum differently relative to us. Thus, for the Haunter visible light may be an ultra-strong form of ionizing radiation that neutralizes it so it is sent back to its own Space-Time. If light is a strong form of radiation to the Haunter, are other forms of non-ionizing radiation also dangerous to it? Does this mean that ionizing radiation is not dangerous to the Haunter? We have very little information on this so some experimental work would be required.

steve_purcell_stufftoblowyourmind-23-2014-04-threelobedburningeye                     The Haunter by Steve Purcell (www.stufftoblowyourmind.com)

Such experiments would involve summoning the Haunter through the Shining Trapezohedron and then exposing the entity to varying forms of radiation, both ionizing and non-ionizing. Of course, the Haunter may not appreciate being experimented upon; however as long as a source of visible light is readily available the Haunter could easily be banished back to its own Space-Time if it gets agitated.  Extreme caution would obviously be required; we have no idea what effects the other sections of our EM spectrum would have on the Haunter so I would recommend multiple and varying sources of light.

_ll_the_haunter_of_the_dark__by_malakialagatta-d7tetq9 The Haunter of the Dark (malakialagatta.deviantart.com)

One concluding thought is that when they discovered the body of Robert Blake after the electrical storm when the Haunter broke out of the church steeple, he was sitting at his desk completely rigid with glassy bulging eyes. This “frozen” condition may have been the result of some type of calcification of the body, similar to what was described earlier with the hydrofluoric acid producing an insoluble precipitate. Thus, some type of chemical reaction, perhaps on the quantum level as well as the electrochemical level, occurred to result in this extreme case of paralysis. However, as previously mentioned we know very little about the Haunter and until additional encounters are documented and/or actual experimental work is conducted, the biology of this unique entity will remain largely unknown.

haunter_of_the_dark_by_pickmans_model                     The Haunter of the Dark by Pickmans Model (www.deviantart.com)

Next time we will conclude the Bloch / Lovecraft / Haunter trilogy with third tale, Bloch’s “The Shadow from the Steeple.” Thank you – Fred.

The Shining Trapezohedron Comes to Providence

haunter_jblee Haunter of the Dark by Jb Lee

For centuries, the Shining Trapezohedron was buried in the ancient tomb of Nephren-Ka. However, more than likely the tomb and the stone were discovered by Professor Enoch Bowen, a well-known archaeologist and occultist, who returned home to Providence, Rhode Island in 1844. Once back in Providence, Professor Bowen bought an old Free-Will Church and formed the Church of Starry Wisdom. By 1845 the Church had 97 members and was growing. However, religious tolerance for the Church eventually ended when residence started to disappear.

the_haunter_of_the_dark_by_faeriesoph The Haunter of the Dark by Faeriesoph

From the late 1840s and into the 1850s locals reported hearing strange sounds coming from the church in the dead of night and stories of the Shining Trapezohedron started to surface. These stories stated that “…Shining Trapezohedron shows them heaven & other worlds, & that the Haunter of the Dark tells them secrets in some way.” Again, more evidence that the stone is a window or “viewing scope” into other universes and Space-Times. Also, the secrets the Haunter tells may also refer to the ability to see into the future. From the notebook Robert Blake found in the Church tower, it is also stated that the Haunter can’t exist in light and that it flees from a little light and it banished by strong light but can be summoned again through the Shining Trapezohedron. This explains why the windows in the Church steeple were painted black, to minimize the amount of light so the Haunter could be summoned.

As the size of the Church’s congregation grew from the 1850s to the 1870s so did the number of disappearances. Again, similar to Nephren-Ka, it is hypothesized that these victims were used as blood sacrifices, providing the residential biological material needed for the Haunter and/or Nyarlathotep to remind in our Space-Time and increase in strength / power. In exchange, the power of prophecy may be one of the gifts provided to the worshippers. As I have previously stated, this is not a “fair exchange.” The Old Ones such as Nyarlathotep do not care at all about humanity; however, this relationship provided them with the opportunity to enter our Space-Time for extended periods of time and possibly to find a way to remain permanently. The Old Ones were simply using humanity out of convenience.

the_haunter_of_the_dark_by_gianmac The Haunter of the Dark by Gianmac (www.deivantart.com)

By 1877 the Church of the Starry Wisdom was run out of town. While no evidence was found to connect the Church to the disappearances, the City was convinced they were to blame. Thus, before the end of 1877 approximately 181 members of the Church left Providence and the church was boarded up until Edwin M. Lillibridge, a reported with the Providence Telegram, decided to explore the Church in 1893. In turn, Blake found the remains of Mr. Lillibridge in his exploration of the Church.

To conclude this discussion of the Shining Trapezohedron in Providence, it is interesting to note that while the congregation left the Church toward the end of 1877 fairly quickly never to return, they left the Shining Trapezohedron behind. Why? Did the Haunter tell the congregation in “…a secret language of their own…” to leave the stone behind for someone else to discover?  Were the members of the Church provided with a vision of the future based on the need to leave the Shining Trapezohedron in the Church to be discovered by someone else?  Unless a member of the congregation who left Providence in 1877 documented the reason why they left the Shining Trapezohedron behind we may never know the reason.

willhart_church                                                                           Church of Starry Wisdom by Will Hart

However, in addition to leaving the Shining Trapezohedron, members of the congregation did leave a small library of forbidden texts and books, which have been catalogued by Nate Pedersen and Johnathan Kearns in The Starry Wisdom Library: The Catalogue of the Greatest Occult Book Auction of All Time (2014). The Catalogue reviews all of the books found in the Starry Wisdom collection, some well-known such as the Necronomicon, others more obscure such as The Black Book of the Skull. The Catalogue provides a history of each tome as well as a description of its condition and summary of its contents. I highly recommend this book, which can be purchased on Amazon. Who knows if it will eventually lead you to actually acquiring one of these forbidden and rare books?

the-starry-wisdom-library-jhc-edited-by-nate-pedersen-2564-p

Next time we will complete our discussion of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark” by reviewing what we know about the biology of this unique entity. Thank you – Fred.

Nephren-Ka and the Shining Trapezohedron

nephren_ka_the_black_pharaoh_by_mrzarono-d4btotz Nephren-Ka, the Black Pharaoh by Mr. Zarono (www.deviantart.com)

As previously mentioned Nephren-Ka is a Pharaoh of ancient Khem who utilized the Shining Trapezohedron to see into the future. In order to obtain an understanding of how to use the Shining Trapezohedron, Nephren-Ka conducted large-scale and mass ritualistic sacrifices to Nyarlathotep and as a result, any recorded documentation of his life was largely expunged from the ancient history. Thus, it is not surprising that Lovecraft knew every little of him and actually mentioned him by name only twice in all of this recorded tales. The first time toward the end of “The Outsider” after the protagonist looks in a mirror realizes exact what he is and states, “Now I ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, and play by day amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka in the sealed and unknown valley of Hadoth by the Nile.” A little more on what this may indicate later.

The second time Nephren-Ka is mentioned by Lovecraft is in “The Haunter of the Dark,” where, “The Pharaoh Nephren-Ka built around it [referring to the Shining Trapezohedron] a temple with a windowless crypt, and did that which caused his name to be stricken from all monuments and records.” There are instances where Lovecraft may have been referring to Nephren-Ka, such as toward the end of “The Haunter of the Dark” when Blake states, “Is it not an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in antique and shadowy Khem even took the form of man?” In “The Dreams in the Witch-House” there is a reference to the “Black Man” of the witch-cult and the “Nyarlathotep” of the Necronomicon. While Nephren-Ka was obviously of African descent it is unlikely that the Black Man in “The Dreams in the Witch-House” was Nephren-Ka. So what is the relationship between Nephren-Ka and Nyarlathotep? To answer that, he need to re-examine Robert Bloch’s take “Fane of the Black Pharaoh” in a little more detail.

1204833256_f                                               Nephren-Ka

In the Bloch tale, Nephren-Ka renounces all religions except that of Nyarlathotep. It was stated that Nephren-Ka sought the “power of prophecy, and built temples to the Blind Ape of Truth.” Nephren-Ka then performed a series of large-scale sacrifices, killing over 100 of this subjects in favor of Nyarlathotep.” I can find no information on the temple or faith of the Blind Ape of Truth; however, my guess is that this concept is in reference to humans being “blind” to the true nature of reality and the multiverse. I hypothesize that Nephren-Ka incorporated this concept into the dark temple of Nyarlathotep, since he would be the enlightened ape while the rest of humanity would be blind to the truth. Again, since any reference to Nephren-Ka was largely stricken from the historical records little else is known on the temple of the Blind Ape of Truth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                                                    Temple of the Ape God by Mr. Zarono (www.deviantart.com)

However, what is known about Nephren-Ka is that in exchange for knowledge on how to use the Shining Trapezohedron he sacrificed 100 (if not more) of his subjects to Nyarlathotep. So, if Nyarlathotep is an all-powerful Old Ones who knows how to travel through time, space and beyond, as well as manipulate and utilize matter and energy in ways we can’t even begin to understand, why does he need blood sacrifices? I believe it is another piece of supporting evidence for my hypothesis of “The Weakness of the Old Ones.”

While the Old Ones are all-powerful beyond our understanding, they are not originally from our Space-Time, which puts them at a disadvantage. They can enter our Space-Time but they appear to need help from our side such as cultists performing rituals (Cthulhu in “The Call of Cthulhu”) or hybridization with the resident entities (Yog-Sothoth in “The Dunwich Horror”). In the case of Nyarlathotep, blood (possibly DNA?) is required for his manifestation.  This appears to be the case in both “The Dreams in the Witch-House” as well as in Bloch’s “Fane of the Black Pharaoh.”. Not being residents from our Space-Time means the Old Ones can be easily defeated; however, if one of them does succeed in establishing themselves in our reality the results will be devastating. In ancient Khem the sacrifice of 100 people for Nyarlathotep may have been a serious attempt for this Old One to permanently secure his physical manifestation in our Space Time.

avatars_of_nyarlathotep_by_clone_artist Avatars of Nyarlathotep by Clone Artist (www.deviantart.com)

An alternative hypothesis is that enough blood was provided to Nyarlathotep in ancient Khem to take the form of Nephren-Ka, or at least take a human form (the Black Man or Dark Man). I do not think Nephren-Ka was originally an avatar for Nyarlathotep.  I believe he was a man who wanted power, specifically of prophecy, and was willing to do anything to achieve that goal. However, once he had that power it appears he remained in his sealed tomb for his remaining days, painting the walls of his temple-crypt with his visions of the future. The ambiguous mention of Nephren-Ka at the end of “The Outsider,” playing in the catacombs of Nephren-Ka, may have been in reference to his doomed state of knowing the future of humanity but being trapped in his sealed tomb. He was no long a Blind Ape – he was now an ape who could see but he was also an ape who was trapped.

the_vault_of_nephren_ka_by_eldest20-d6w0mma The Vault of Nephren-Ka by Eldest20 (www.deivantart.com)

Nephren-Ka, Keziah Mason and Walter Gilman may have all been employing various methods, intentional or unintentional, to open the way for Nyarlathotep to enter and establish himself in our Space-Time. Fortunately for us, none of them have succeeded. However, who’s to say who will succeed in the future? Maybe this event is prophesied in drawings on the walls of the tomb of Nephren-Ka.

Next time we will discuss the journey of the Shining Trapezohedron from ancient Khem to Providence, Rhode Island and the sect who more than likely attempted to use it – The Church of the Starry Wisdom. Thank you – Fred.

A Brief History of the Shining Trapezohedron

As previously discussed there appears to be an established methodology in the operation of the Shining Trapezohedron in H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Haunter in the Dark.” First, the Haunter needs to get the attention of a sentient entity and this is conducted through the trapezohedron. When the Haunter detects the presence of a sentient entity recognizing or acknowledging the trapezohedron through some sensory method, some type of connection is made. In our case this sensory method is sight, with photons of light reaching the light sensitive cells in the retina of our eyes (rods and cones) and then sending neural impulses to our brain for recognition. For other entities, the sensory method may be associated with heat or sound or even X-rays. Once this inter-dimensional connection of perception is made, complete darkness is required. Thus, it behooves the Haunter to put fear and paranoia into the receiving entity, forcing them to close the box. This puts the trapezohedron into complete darkness, which is required for the Haunter to enter our Universe. More on this and the biology of the Haunter relative to light in a later article; this article will review some of the historical accounts that have involved the Shining Trapezohedron.

shiningtrapezohedron_pro                                                                       Shining Trapezohedron

In “The Haunter in the Dark” Lovecraft describes the Shining Trapezohedron as “…a window on all time and space…” Again, this supports the concept that the trapezohedron functions as both a mode of communication as well as transportation. Also, as previously mentioned, if the information or matter conveyed by the stone uses technology that is beyond that of our Space-Time, the limitations associated with the speed of light may not apply to its use. Thus, peering into the trapezohedron may not be the same as looking at a star or nebula in a telescope where we are also looking into the distance past. The trapezohedron may be a “real time” window through time, space and beyond.

The Shining Trapezohedron was fashioned on Yuggoth and according to S.T. Joshi this appears to establish some type of connection among the Haunter, Yuggoth and/or Nyarlathotep (Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H.P. Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi; 2014). It is said that the Old Ones brought the Shining Trapezohedron to Earth; however, it is not known if the term “Old Ones” refers to the Fungi from Yuggoth – the Mi-Go – or some other species. As stated in “Out of the Aeons” by H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, the Yuggoth Spawn existed on the dwarf planet eons before the arrival of the Mi-Go. The Yuggoth Spawn brought and deposited their patron daemon Ghatanothoa into the deep crypts of the fortress Yaddith-Gho on Yuggoth. It is certainly possible that the Yuggoth Spawn also brought the Shining Trapezohedron to Yuggoth, which was subsequently discovered by the Mi-Go and then eventually taken to Earth. In fact, the Mi-Go may have attempted to utilize the Trapezohedron as a weapon in their war against the Elder Things.

yuggothwatchtower_chaberwood_dev Yuggoth Watchtower by Chaberwood (www.deviantart.com). Was the Shining Trapezohedron housed in a structure like this on Yuggoth?

Eventually, the Elder Things possessed the Shining Trapezohedron. Once the stone was on Earth it was treasured and placed in a curious box by the crinoid things of Antarctica. This is obviously a reference to the Elder Things from At the Mountains of Madness.

The Haunter of the Dark goes on to document that the Shining Trapezohedron was salvaged from the ruins of the Elder Things (presumably from the Elder Things’ ancient cities in Antarctica) by the serpent-mean of Valusia (more on them in a future article). The first humans to gaze into the trapezohedron were from Lemuria and later from Atlantis. After the fall of the Atlantean civilization a Minoan fisherman found the stone in one of his nets and sold it to a merchant from “nighted Khem.”

It is said that the Pharaoh Nephren-Ka, also known as the Black Pharaoh, constructed an entire temple around the Shining Trapezohedron, placing it in a windowless crypt. Robert Bloch provides more information on the “atrocious sacrifices” Nephren-Ka did in his worship of Nyarlathotep (see Bloch’s story “Fane of the Black Pharaoh” in his book Mysteries of the Worm). Indeed, it is thought that Nyarlathotep gave Nephren-Ka the gift of prophecy and many of these prophecies were painted on the walls of the temple. Was this gift of prophecy simply Nephren-Ka harnessing the powers of observation associated with the Shining Trapezohedron? If the stone is a window of time and space, it could have easily been utilized as a means of predicting the future.

nephren_ka_the_black_pharaoh_by_mrzarono-d4btotz Pharaoh Nephren-Ka the Black Pharaoh by Mr. Zarono (www.deviantart.com)

Toward the end of “The Haunter of the Dark” Blake does say, “Is it not an avatar of Nyarlathotep, who in antique and shadowy Khem even took the form of man?” (H.P. Lovecraft). An avatar is a manifestation or representation of a deity or other entity. Thus, this is the connection that was cited by Joshi earlier in this article. Khem is simply one of the many names that the ancient people of Egypt called their country (Stephen S. Mehler; www.bibiotecapleyades.net). Also, if the Haunter is an avatar of Nyarlathotep, was Nephren-Ka another avatar of Nyarlathotep in ancient Khem?

As a result of his sacrifices, at least 100 documented victims, and the inter-dimensional power Nephren-Ka received from his dealings with Nyarlathotep through the Shining Trapezohedron, he was driven out of Khem, his name was stricken from history and all monuments to Nephren-Ka were destroyed. Next time we will discuss in more detail the relationship between the Black Pharaoh and Nyarlathotep and how Nephren-Ka used the Shining Trapezohedron. Thank you – Fred.

steve_purcell_stufftoblowyourmind-23-2014-04-threelobedburningeye                     Three-Lobed Burning Eye by Steve Purcell

Comparing Great Race Technology to the Trapezohedron

In “The Shadow over Time” the economics professor Wingate Peaslee of Miskatonic University has his mind exchanged with a member of the Great Race against his will. Years later after the member of the Great Race collected a large amount of information on our world and time it then reversed the mind exchange by using a “…queer mixture of rods, wheels and mirrors, though only about two feet tall, one foot wide and one foot thick. The central mirror was circular and convex” (The Shadow over Time by H.P. Lovecraft).

               The strange technology used by the Great Race to transport their consciousness through time and space

It is interesting to note that some current research into measuring or detecting gravitons involves the Casimir effect; that is, the attraction or repulsion force between two mirrors that are placed a few nanometers apart in a vacuum. The reflective surfaces may actually move as a result of virtual photons (packets of light) that appear and disappear from the vacuum between the two mirrors (www.livescience.com).

In principle, a graviton should behave like a photon but is substantially weaker, which is why they are more difficult to detect. Thus, with conventional mirrors, made in our Universe out of the matter we are familiar with, such graviton activity will be too weak to detect. In fact, the gravitational Casimir effect is so weak that it exerts only a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of the amount of pressure exerted by Earth’s atmosphere at sea level (wwwlivescience.com). However, this may be possible with superconductors, which are materials that conduct electricity with zero resistance.

Given the dual particle / wave nature of gravitons, if gravity waves could be collected and utilized the way photons, radio waves or X-rays are used in our Universe, their possible applications could be incredible. For example, the wavelength of a laser beam is microscopic and you can compress vast amounts of information on its wave pattern; however, even more data can be transferred onto a beam of X-rays, which has a wavelength smaller than an individual atom (Kaku, 2014). Imagine how much information can be compressed onto a gravity wave! Possibly the collective consciousness, experiences and personality of an individual?

untitledThe Great Race examining some text on a future civilization (artwork by Tom Ardans)

The strength of gravity in other Universes is more than likely substantially stronger than what we experience in our Universe; many of the ideas associated with Super String Theory point to this conclusion. Thus, the Great Race may be using technology from another universe to collect gravitons, either from our Universe or another one, and use gravity waves to conduct the mind exchange. The queer mixture of rods, wheels and mirrors may be the means of harvesting the gravity waves and direct them. However, the technology of the Great Race may be limited to just transporting information and consciousness through space, time and beyond. The transfer of matter may require substantially higher amounts of energy and that may be possible through the shining trapezohedron.

the_shining_trapezohedron_by_jasonmckittrick-d5uzf3e                                                     The Shining Trapezohedron, created by Jason McKittrick.

 

The shining trapezohedron may operate in a similar capacity but on a substantially larger scale. First, the trapezohedron may be composed of matter that does not originate from our Universe. Second, the energy that the trapezohedron is tapping into is substantially larger than that used by the Great Race, which in their case limits their transport to information and consciousness, possibly riding on gravity waves. In contrast, the trapezohedron appears to create “wormholes” outside of our Space-Time, possibly using higher dimensional mathematics to achieve this goal. Thus, the other worlds that Robert Blake sees in the trapezohedron may not be limited to our Space-Time laws (e.g. looking at light from far away means you are looking into the distant past). Instead, the other worlds observed in the trapezohedron may be “real time.”

More importantly, the trapezohedron can actually transport matter and entities through these temporarily created wormholes. However, as previously mentioned, some acknowledgement or mental contact is needed between the user of the trapezohedron, in this case the Haunter, and a sentient entity on the other side (our Universe). As previously mentioned, darkness is required as well. We will discuss this requirement for darkness for the Haunter to enter our Universe, as well as some history on the trapezohedron, next time. Thank you and Happy Halloween! Fred.

The Geometry and Mechanics of the Shining Trapezohedron

the_haunter_of_the_dark_by_peteamachree                     The Haunter of the Dark by Pete Amachree

“The Haunter of the Dark” is Lovecraft’s sequel to Robert Bloch’s “The Shambler from the Stars” where the surviving protagonist, named Robert Blake, goes to Providence to write a novel.  While in Providence he becomes obsessed with a large, deserted church on Federal Hill. Eventually, his obsession leads him to breaking into the church and discover the “Shining Trapezohedron,” which appears to be the door or window to other worlds or universes. This article focuses on the Shining Trapezohedron.

Simply put, a trapezohedron is a sold figure where its faces are either trapeziums or trapezoids. A trapezium is a quadrilateral with no parallel sides, while a trapezoid is a quadrilateral with one pair of parallel sides.

trapezium                                                                      A trapezium; no parallel sides

isosceles_trapezoid                                                                                                A trapezoid; with one pair of parallel sides

In contrast, in discussing the development of crystalline minerals the word trapezohedron refers to a polyhedron formally known as a deltoidal icositetrahedron.

5e5937d817efee14543715eaf82f9077-d3fwqxl                                                                                                                A polyhedron shape

The strange crystal Blake finds in the church turns out to be a four inch “…nearly black, red-striated polyhedron with many irregular flat surfaces; either a very remarkable crystal of some sort or an artificial object of carved and highly polished mineral matter.” While the trapezohedron could be shaped like a crystalline polyhedron, since Lovecraft described it as having may irregular flat surfaces, it more than likely had trapezium sides; that is, a quadrilateral with no parallel sides.

The trapezohedron was suspended in a yellow-metal box with a metal band around its center with seven spoke-like horizontal extensions connecting the metal band to the interior of the box. As previously mentioned, the trapezohedron appears to be some type of door or window that immediately draws the attention of sentient beings. Once Blake looks at the crystalline shape he has a difficult time looking away. As he looks into the trapezohedron Blake sees “half-formed worlds” and “alien orbs with grant stone towers.”

the_unspeakable_trapezohedron_by_alanmac95-d8y5bbp The Unspeakable Trapezohedron by Alanmac 95 (www.deivantart.com)

In the dark of the abandoned church the trapezohedron begins to glow with a phosphorescence of radioactivity. More than likely this a reference of the glow associated with radium, which is a chemical element with an atomic number of 88. As radium decays, ionizing radiation is the result, which can excite fluorescent chemicals and cause radioluminescence. Essentially, light is produced when the ionizing radiation, being generated by the decaying radium, hits the fluorescent material. It must have been a strange sight to see that black, red-striated trapezohedron emanate the strange fox-fire glow. Blake felt a presence in the church steeple so he immediately closes the box, snapping the lid down. Subsequent to this he begins to hear a soft stirring as something is moving overhead. Blake attributes this to rats and immediately leaves the church leaving the trapezohedron.

shining-trapezohedron-by-terpandre The Shining Trapezohedron by Terpandre (www.propnomicon.blogspot.com)

Based on this documented account there appears to be an established protocol in order for the Haunter of the Dark to enter our Universe through the trapezohedron. First, the Haunter needs to get the attention of a sentient entity. Once this inter-dimensional connection is made complete darkness is required. Thus, it behooves the Haunter to put fear and paranoia into the receiving entity, forcing them to close the box. This puts the trapezohedron into complete darkness, which is required for the Haunter to enter our Universe. Based on the documentation provided by Blake, the Haunter is either weakened or injured by light (more on that in the next article).

So, what makes the trapezohedron so special as a portal or means of either observing or entering another Universe? It is possible that the trapezohedron is a means of accessing the higher dimensions that are predicted to exist beyond the four we are familiar with as per super string theory. The trapezohedron may be a portal that allows us to peer into other Universe but also allows the Haunter to enter ours. It is not known if humans could use the trapezohedron to travel through hyperspace, similar to the way Keziah Mason and Walter Gilman do in “Dreams in the Witch-House” through the use of mathematics. However, using the trapezohedron to travel through time, space and beyond could be more dangerous since it appears other beings can use it as well. While the exact mechanisms and engineering associated with the operation of the trapezohedron may be beyond our understanding, at least for now, as a crystalline polyhedron in our reality we can hypothesize how such a device may operate in our physical Space-Time.

77ec7ad3d95035aef5341c9ffd2035e7                     The Haunter of the Dark by Nestor Avalos

Recently, work has been conducted on a technique called electromagnetically induced transparency, which involves firing a control laser at a cryogenically-cooled, opaque crystal made of yttrium silicate and covered with the chemical element praseodymium (www.isciencetimes.com). A control laser is fired at the opaque crystal, make it transparent and a second light source is subsequently beamed into the crystal. The control laser is then turned off, marking the crystal once again opaque. This essentially traps the second light beam inside the crystal. German scientists have effectively “stopped” light for 60 seconds with the use of this technology. They essentially stopped something (light) that travels at a speed of 186,282 miles per second.

race_figure2                           The race has been on for years to slow down the speed of light (www.photonics.com)

This scientific breakthrough of stopping or at least slowing down light could have a large impact on our everyday lives. Such quantum communication could encrypt large amounts of information on a sub-atomic level and then send it over very long distances. However, in the case of the trapezohedron such quantum communication maybe how Blake could peer into the crystal and see other times, worlds and universes. Additionally, the transfer of extremely large amounts of information (and possibly matter?) over vast distances and outside of conventional Space-Time where the speed of light may not be a limitation (hyperspace?) may be the mode of transportation used by the Haunter.

Again, all of this is sheer speculation since we know almost nothing about how the trapezohedron operates. However, the development of hypotheses and their subsequent testing is how progress is made in science. Thus, if anyone has a shining trapezohedron, a cryogenically-cooled experiment involving electromagnetically induced transparency may be in order! Next time we will discuss the biology of the Haunter. Thank you – Fred.

shiningtrapazohedron2_5-348x393                                                                                       The Shining Trapezohedron